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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    September 13, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EDT  

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this chamber, it's a bill that would help our agricultural community through -- to get through this crisis brought about by extreme weather. as i mention pedestrian, the farm bill was a bipartisan effort, it dealt with many components that would help segments of our agricultural community as a result of the conditions from the drought. let me just mention a few. the livestock disaster provision that expired in 2011 in the farm bill it is strengthened, it's made retroactive back to 2012 and it would help those that are in the cattle producing part of agriculture get through the conditions of this drought. 72% of the cattle producing areas are affected by the drought. 72%. it's going to have an affect on our entire country. we have a responsibility to make sure that our farm policies help
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the -- get through this unusually disastrous weather conditions. as i mentioned earlier, and the presiding officer knows from delaware, the poultry industry has suffered unbelievably. the reason, quite frankly, is that -- and i'll talk a little bit more about this -- the price to produce a chick in the poultry industry is so much dependent upon the price of feed or corn. and the corn price is un -- is extremely high as a result, in part, of the drought conditions. the farm bill that we passed would help the corn producers which would, in fact, would help the poultry industry, soist an important part of the farm -- so it's an important part of the farm bill. for my fruit and vegetable growers, the reform in the crop insurance program would help them during these very tough times. and then let me mention the conservation programs. i know that chairman stabenow has talked about this frequently on the floor, but the farm bill
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we passed reforms the conservation programs that allow our farmers to do the right thing. one of the things we learned from the dust bowl, from the crisis that we confronted in the 1930's, was that you've got to take care and protect your water and your soil. you need to be attentive to water and soil. well, after the -- the dust bowl, after that crisis, we passed in the congress different types of conservation acts. well, the farm bill that we passed in this house consolidates, reforms and strengthens the conservation programs so that our farmers can do the right thing not only for produce todaproducing today butr producing tomorrow, taking care of the circumstances that we know mother nature will be throwing at us. well, we can't do anything about that until the house takes up the farm bill, and they have yet to take it up. i would just urge my colleagues in the other body to take this
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bill up. we need to do that for many reasons, one of which, of course, is the extreme conditions that the agricultural community in this country is confronting as a result of this drought. let me talk specifically about poultry. on the delmarva peninsula, the poultry industry is in crisis. it's in crisis. the senator from delaware, the presiding officer, understands this. 75% of the cost to produce poultry is in the price of feed. the -- the -- what the poultry industry uses for feed is corn. that is what they need to have, corn. at the present time, corn is approaching $9 a barrel. what does that mean? well, if the price is at that rate, it would cost about $2 per pound to produce a chick for
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market. the retail price is $2 a pound. doesn't take too much of an economic background to know that you can't make it under those economic conditions. our poultry industry needs help. they need to be competitive and it's difficult to do that when they're so dependent upon the price of corn. the problem with corn is that we're competing uses. it's not only used in the food chain, it's used as an energy source as a result of corn-based ethanol. that distorts the food chain. i have introduced legislation along with senator boozman and senator mikulski that would modify the renewable fuel standards -- that's the standards that require a certain percentage of our renewables in corn ethanol -- it would modify that and let me explain how. it would link the amount of corn ethanol required for the
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renewable fuels standards to the amount of corn supply. that makes sense. as we have more corn, fine, we can meet the renewable standards. but in this type of -- in this year, where we've had a drought condition, we have much less corn, the price of corn is going up in price, making it very difficult for our poultry industry, the requirements would be reduced. we think that makes sense. that's using market forces to help meet our energy needs but also to help deal with the realities of the poultry industry. i've also joined with senator hagan and senator chambliss, pryor, boozman in authoring a letter to the environmental protection agency calling for them to waive the renewable fuels standards conventional ethanol product mandate for this year. again, let the farmers be able to compete. don't let us disport the marketplace. -- don't let us distort the
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marketplace. so, mr. president, let me just say in summary, agriculture's critically important to this country for many reasons. it's one of the largest parts of our economy. it's important for our national security. it's a part of our way of life. we lead the world in -- in the productivity in agriculture. it has a -- it's important for us in international trade. all these reasons. but we need to be attentive to how we deal with agriculture in this country. we need a farm policy, an agricultural policy. the farm bill we passed is necessary to be enacted or we're going to have a lapse in our agricultural programs. we've done our work. it's critically important before the house goes home that they take up the farm bill. i hope they would pass our farm bill in order to help farmers in maryland and around the nation. and then i would hope we would
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also pay special attention to the poultry industry, to recognize that because of the costs of -- the price of corn related not just to the food chain but also energy, that we have a responsibility to help the poultry industry, which is so dependent upon corn as a commodity to produce the poultry product. we need to help our agricultural community to do the right thing. it's important for our country and i would urge my colleagues to pay attention to these issues before we recess for the fall elections. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i come to the floor to discuss the state of our economy and to give some suggestions on how to improve it. but before i go to the main purpose i came, i want to say to the senator from maryland that i
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agree with him that the house of representatives ought to take up a farm bill and i hope that they will and that's my urging. i would also like to take advantage of the opportunity to explain a little bit about ethanol and how that works in with the situation he brought up about increasing feed. for chickens or any other animals. this year farmers planted 96 million acres of corn, more acres planted to corn than any other year since 1938. and most of that's because of the ethanol industry. if we didn't have an ethanol industry, we would normally plant somewheres between 80 million and 85 million acres of corn. so let's just assume that you never heard of the word "ethanol" or the product ethanol
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and it didn't even exist and farmers planted the usual 0 million t80 million to 85 mils of corn and we have the same drought that we have this year over about two-thirds of the united states. and the corn crop is going to be really reduced because of it. and if you planted 80 million to 85 million acres of corn and we had the same drought, you'd still have the high price of grain that we have right now but you wouldn't have ethanol to blame for it. so the marketplace is bringing about the increased production of corn because of feed, fuel and fiber, and -- and you should not be scapegoating ethanol
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because if we didn't have ethanol to blame, we wouldn't be planting 95, 96 million acres of corn, we'd be planting about 80 million to 85 million acres of corn and we'd still have the same problem, the same high price, the same problem for the poultry producers. now to the point that i came to the senate. we all recognize that our nation faces challenging times. we've had years with unemployment at unacceptable levels and anemic economic growth that shows no sign of lifting us out of the situation. meanwhile, rampant government spending, which we were promised would jump-start the economy and create jobs, has instead displaced private-sector investment and choked off job creation.
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more and more americans are starting to doubt that their children and grandchildren will have better opportunities than they had, not to mention the fact that they will be forced to pay for all of that spending. we keep being told by president obama and members of his party that change is just around the corner. if we just keep doing what we are doing, things will get better. after almost four years of failed policy and dashed hopes, that line is wearing thin. fortunately our problems are not insurmountable and the solutions are common sense. all that is needed is sufficient leadership to make the tough decisions. in fact, this is the same situation that great britain faced in the 1970's.
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britain was mired in debt and even had to go to the i.m.f. for a bailout. successive british prime ministers have recognized the looming financial problem for years but failed to get the budget under control. at that time in the 1970's, britain was known as the sick man of europe. still, as in this country, interest groups that benefited from public spending threatened to bring down any british government that even considered measures to control spending. we see those same forces in the congress of the united stateing atelling us that you can't cut any -- united states telling us that you can't cut any place. in fact, there was a winter in 1978-1979, better known as the
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winter of discontent. as a result of the inability of several different prime ministers to take the difficult steps necessary to turn things around, many pundits started to speculate that britain had become ungovernable. there were even many british politicians who had decided that the best they could accomplish was to manage the economic and political decline of america. and we hear the terms in the united states of a new norm. i hope we aren't getting into that same attitude that the british had in the 1970's. but they had a leader that came along by the name of o margaret thatcher. she utterly rejected the notion that decline was an option. in fact, she was famous for repeating the phrase -- quote -- "there is no alternative."
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so i would like to take those words, "there is no alternativ alternative," as a guiding point for us in the congress, republican or democrat, that we've got to do something, there is no alternative. by this, prime minister thatcher meant that government control of major parts of the economy and an economic policy based on uncontrolled spending had fail failed. if economic recovery was the goal, the only alternative was the free market. this meant cutting spending, reducing growth, inhibiting income taxes, and reining in government micromanagement of business, things you hear from the private sector in the united states today. despite the hard lessons of
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experience, the prevailing economic theory of the day still held that government spending was good for the economy and that government central planners could operate more efficiently than the private business left alone. now, that's the situation she was describing in britain. but for us here, whether it's government or the private sector, it's like saying, are 535 members of congress smarter to determine the direction of the economy or is the 308 million people outside of the congress in the united states better prepared to do it and which will do the most good? now, thatcher faced intense opposition, both from true believers in the stimulus ideology and from those with a vested interest in the status
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quo. but having rejected national decline, as she did, as an option, there really was no alternative. she explained to the british public why her course of action was necessary and stood up to the special interests that stood in the way of prosperity. and we hear from our constituents about those special interests that we ought to do something about, but we don't seem do much about it. when the media began speculating that she would fail to follow through and that she would lose her spine and make a u-turn like so much of her predecessors, mrs. thatcher's response was -- quote -- "you turn if you want to. the lady's not for turning." end of quote.
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but prime minister thatcher provided -- what prime minister thatcher provided for britain is very simple: leadership. and that's exactly what the united states needs today. most americans i talk to believe in our opportunity society and refuse to accept that the american dream of a better life for our children is dead or that there's a new norm or that america is in decline. for those of us who feel that way, restoring the dynamic american free market economy is essential. in the words of margaret thatcher, "there is no alternative." we must reduce spending. there is no alternative. we must have low, simple, and stable taxes. ness nthere is no alternative. and there is no alternative to reducing and reforming the growing regulatory burden.
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during the last three and a half years, the national debt has grown by more than $5 trillion, an increase of 50%. this year will be the fourth consecutive year with trillion-dollar annual deficits. these deficits and a federal debt that now totals $16 trillion are, in fact, dampers on the private-sector job creation. when washington takes and spends the wealth created in the private sector, it crowds out new investments that would have been made by businesses and entrepreneurs, investments that would have resulted in the creation of new wealth and job opportunities for more americans. the out-of-control spending has created a stagnant economy with unemployment stuck above 8% now for 42 consecutive months.
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economic freedom must replace bigger government. economic growth must be our top priority. and fiscal discipline in washington is a prerequisite for sustainable economic growth. in the words of prime minister thatcher, "there is no alternative." the four-year experiment attempting to increase economic prosperity by growing government and managing the economy through government intervention has failed. to address the anemic economic recovery and get america back to work, we must reduce the sky -- size and scope of the federal government. in the words of prime minister thatcher, "there is no alternative." again, our nation is $16 trillion in debt, and how much is $16 trillion? well, if you started counting to
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$16 trillion one second at a time, it would take you over 500,000 years to reach that level. the federal government will spend more than $11 trillion just on medicare and medicaid over the next ten years medicare and medicaid serve a vital role in providing health care services to individuals who are poor and elderly and disabled. but just because those programs have operated a certain way for 47 years doesn't mean they operate efficiently, even though we all agree that they're part of the socia social fabric of aa and must be b maintained. the current path of just saying "no" to every proposal and every special interest is not an option to maintain the programs. in the words of prime minister thatcher, ther, "there is no
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alternative." there is no alternative but to look at their very structure and ask th the question, can we do better? as we begin to take the steps too pull ourselves out of the this 23eu fiscal americas we alo need to reform how washington does business so that we don't find ourselves in this situation again. one major step that could produce long-term fiscal discipline is a balanced budget raiment, buamendment, but if wet today, it won't get us out of the hole we're in, but once you get out of the hole, it's going to keep us from getting into it again. the national debt now is reaching a point of where, if we do nodo not intervene with an amendment for a constitutional budget, congress can always change a law when it becomes politically expedient.
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and i went through this one time, because i was an author with a former senator in this body by the name of harry byrd from the state of virginia -- not west virginia. he and i worked together when i was a member of the house. we got legislation passed requiring a balanced budget. but for 15 years that law was on the books and never in those 15 years was there ever a balanced budget. so it makes it very clear that statutes will not control deficit spending. i concluded a long time ago that a constitutional amendment is a must to provide congress with necessary discipline. the example right now of europe's debt situation is sobering. nations that allow debt to grow out of control risk default. think of greece as an example. if we do not take effective
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corrective action, the european future could be ours and maybe sooner than we think. the timer for tinkering around the -- the time for tinkering around theence of the budget is over. we must take bold action to address the debt crisis before it is too late. in the words of prime minister thatcher, "there is no alternative." another area crying out for decisive action is our voluminous tax code. uncertainty in our tax code and the threat of higher taxes is really like an anchor preventing our economy from setting sail. at the end of the year, the across-the-board tax relief first enacted in 2001 and 2003 will expire. its splirgs lead to a hire tax krill for virtually every
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taxpayer representing one of the largest tax increases in the history of the country and, as you knower that can happen without even a vote of congress. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke has testified that the nextgen impact of higher -- the negative impact of higher trawsms on a infrastructure dill -- higher taxes on a fragile economy. it makes it difficult to plan, take risks, and make decisions to expand and hire. tax certainty must be a priority in creating a pro-growth environment. in the words of prime minister thatcher, "there is no alternative." even president obama has acknowledged the negative impact of tax increases on economic growth, saying that you shouldn't raise taxes in a recession. you remember, he campaigned on tax increases in 2008. but before he was even sworn in he warned the people that we
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can't have that tax increase now because we're in a recession. nevertheless, nearly every day our president is on the campaign trail in 2010 -- in 2012 talking about tax increases on the so-called rich claiming them to pay their fair shaimplet but i've never had a definition from the president of the united states of what a fair share is. however, the so-called rich already pay overwhelming majority of federal taxes. do you know that the top 20% of households currently account for 95% of federal income taxes? moreover, the top 1% we hear so much about bears nearly 40% of the federal income tax burden. it is no wonder our job sector, especially the nearly one million small businesses targeted by the president's tax
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increase, are reluctant to make business decisions and invest in this climate when taxes are going to go so high at the end of this year. there are businesses ready to expand and create jobs. there are millions of dollars in the private sector invested, waiting to be invested and create jobs, but businesses are holding back waiting for the heavy boot o of higher taxes tas to drop. it is time that we replace divisiveness and demagoguery with a pro-growth tax policy. this country does not need more taxes. we need more taxpayers. and the way to get more taxpayers is to get more people working. and the way to get more people working is to encourage that investment, take the uncertainty out of the present economic -- or out of the political environment here that has an impact on the economy.
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when businesses andent preen nurse are -- when businesses and entrepreneurs are willing to put everything on the line by opening a new business or expanding an existing birks we must assure them that they will be able to enjoy the fruits of their success, not punish them with a higher tax bill, which takes money out of their cash flow, and when you operate on cash flow, you can't hire people if you don't have the cash. so, we must act decisively to stop job-killing taxes from going up. in the words of prime minister thatcher, "there is no alternative." it isn't just the threat, though, of taxes that has caused uncertainty and held back private-sector investment. the threat of costly new regulations has paralyzed many industries. in fact, from small business, i hear more complaints about the
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regulation thank i do the biggest tax increase in the history of the country coming before us this december. during the past few years, thousands of new federal rules were finalized. those who view government intervention into private enterprise as positive might say, so what? but all these rules come with real costs. this administration has issued about 200 major rules that each have an impact of $100 million or more. a gallup poll taken at the end of the last year found that compliance with government regulations is the single-biggest issue facing small business owners today. when 70% of the new jobs in america are created by small business, we ought to be concerned about what these small
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business people are saying is their number-one problem. on top of the outright cost of new regulation and the compliance burden, the u uncertainty about when a new regulation might come down makes businesses reluctant to expand. in recent years we have seen regulations on top of the regulation. no one knows when the next one will appear or how much it will cost. during the great depression, the avalanche of new agencies with newfound regulatory powers left businesses sitting on large amounts of cash, even in industries that were not yet affected by the new regulations because of the uncertainty who have would be targeted next froze private-sector investment. now, we're seeing pretty much the same thing today. we would be -- it would be one
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thing if these were essential protections for the environment or public health, as proponents of course claim. but for many of these new regulations, the cost of compliance outweighs the public benefit. does it make any sense to try to regulate dust on farms when there's no practical way to stop the wind blowing? but i don't know how many years the e.p.a. has been working on what they call "a fugitive dust rule." does it make any sense to make a dairy farmer fill out pages of documents to prove that they have a plan in place in the case of an accidental milk spill? well, they considered that regulation, but twa too -- it was too outlandish that they made a public announcement they weren't going to do that. why did they waste their time making such a regulation in the
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first place? e.p.a. seems intent upon overkill. did the utility mact rule which was intended to limit mercury emissions from power plants really need to be the single-most expensive regulation in e.p.a. history? in addition to this rule, power plants that rely on coal, like most of those in my state of iowa, are facing a whole new string of overlapping rules with their own compliance deadlines and paperwork. these rules -- these include the cross-state air pollution rule, the national ambient air quality standards, regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, cooling water intake regulations, clean water affluent guidelines, and coal ash regulations. taken separately, each of these may have some justification, but
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when you put them all together, the cost and the compliance burden is enormous, especially on small utilities. and just yesterday there was a delegation of iowa rural electric cooperatives this my office explaining just exactly how costly this was to them and their consumers. that leads many people to suspect that the real motivation for this burst of regulations is an ideological drive to artificially raise the cost of electricity generation using coal which would hurt the economies in places like iowa that rely on coal for cost-effective energy. the regulatory approach that imposes excessive costs for little or no benefit does not do anyone any good. regulatory agencies should be
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held accountable for meeting the cost-benefit test and also a little more difficult to measure, but the commonsense test. the deluge of regulations in recent years and uncertainty -- there's that word again, uncertainty about what is coming next is acting like a wet blanket on our economy. we must put an immediate stop to the unnecessary, unnecessary costly new regulations, in the words of prime minister thatcher, there is no alternative. in the long run we need comprehensive regulatory reform. the constitution vests all legislative powers in congress, which is directly accountable to the american people. however, over the years congress has delegated more and more authority to unelected and
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unaccountable bureaucrats. and once delegated, it's difficult to take back. as a result then, we have a massive administrative state full of well-meaning but unelected government officials who have great power to write regulations with the force of law, with little or no democratic accountability. this has led to the implementation of major policy decisions that impact the economy and the lives of the american people that likely would never have been approved if they would have had to have been voted upon by the congress. that's why i'm an original cosponsor of the regulation from the executive in need of scrutiny act, reins.
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it would have every official act come before the president before it could be implemented. it would be a check on the mistake that congress makes by delegating so much power in the first place. it would also provide more transparency and predictability to the regulatory process, thus reducing job-killing uncertainty. reforms such as the reins act would be a major change in how washington does business, and that upsets a lot of applecarts. and in the words of prime minister thatcher, there is no alternative. if we want economic growth and
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jobs, if we want a brighter future for america, we can't afford to dither any longer. we need leadership like britain had under margaret thatcher, that's willing to tell all the special interests and all the political power players there is no alternative. we must take steps, i have outlined, to reinvigorate the free market economy, just like britain in 1979. there is no alternative. we have tried president obama's theory on economic stimulus, supposed to keep unemployment under 8%, and it's never been under 8% since the day he signed it. we saw a massive expansion of government and deficit spending as a result. more than $800 billion was spent on a failed economic stimulus bill that was supposed to keep unemployment down.
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we all know how that turned out. government spending in the process has reached unprecedented levels. today the size of government, if you combine local, state, and federal, is 40% of our gross domestic product. 100 years ago it was 8%. if it were true that government spending creates economic growth, then we should be living high off the hog today. but it is not. the private sector creates jobs. it is the responsibility of the government to merely create an environment that leads to job growth. remember a very basic premise. government consumes well. it doesn't create well. through economic freedom, entrepreneurs are free to innovate and prosper. this economic success leads to higher standards of living and a better quality of life. importantly, these gains do not then come at the expense of
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others. because contrary to what some around here would have you believe, when someone produces a product or a service that others want, they're creating new wealth. and everyone is better off. but too often around here we think matters of the economy are a zero-sum game. one person's prosperity then does not come at the expense of another. in fact, a business' success and economic growth lifts all boats through employment gains. higher wages, greater value to the consumer. we sometimes hear implied that individual success cannot be achieved without government involvement or intervention. some people seem to believe that an individual success must come at somebody else being deprived. or that success was only
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achieved collectively and with the help of government. this line of thinking concludes that government and society is, therefore, entitled to some of the fruits of individual's labor. this line of thinking is in stark contradiction to our country's founding principles that government exists to protect individuals' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. happiness isn't found in a government paycheck, redistributing what somebody else he earned. in fact, government dependence leads to resentment. by contrast, this great american dream of ours is based on individual americans working hard and learning -- and earning their own success. a country with an increasing number of citizens dependent upon government that lives beyond its means and
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redistributes what remains of a once-great-economy would then cease to be the great america that we've had for 225 years. such a future is unacceptable. to most americans, just like it was unacceptable to prime minister thatcher whorbgs said there is no alternative. the american dream is our birthright and our obligation to posterity. we must return to progrowth policies and an opportunity society. there is no alternative. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mr. shaheen: thank you, mr. president. i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: and i also ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you.
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anybod who's been outside today knows we had a beautiful day and the last couple of days have just been beautiful. so it's hard to believe that the summer is actually coming to a close. but as it does, i want to take a few minutes this afternoon to highlight something that's very important to us in new hampshire and to the country and that is tourism, particularly the outdoor industry association, and its importance to local economies in new hampshire and across this country. new hampshire's long recognized the importance of conservation and the economic benefits that come from supporting outdoor recreation. our beautiful state, like connecticut, has an abundance of natural treasures. the white mountain national forest, our scenic lakes, our coastline. we may only have 18 miles of coastline but it's beautiful, with beautiful beaches and rocky
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coasts. these treasures draw visitors from across new england and from really all over the world. protecting these natural resources is not just good for the environment, it's also critical to our economy. in fact, the outdoor recreation economy supports 5,000 jobs in new hampshire -- supports 53,000 jobs in new hampshire alone, 6.1 million american jobs across the count country. that's more than we have in the construction industry, in finance and insurance industries, or in the education industry. and even in these times of economic recovery, outdoor recreation produces $646 billion in direct consumer spending. again, that's more than the pharmaceutical industry, motor vehicle parts, and household utilities. americans today spend nearly as much on snow sports as they do
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on internet access and considerably more on bicycle gear and trips than on airplane tickets and fees. this is all detailed in a report called "the outdoor recreation economy," which is a very interesting analysis of just what the outdoor recreation economy means to this country. i recently had the opportunity to visit eastern mountain spor sports. e.m.s. is a new hampshire-based business that specializes in outdoor apparel and equipment. and at e.m.s., i saw the direct economic benefit that comes from our support for the development and conservation of outdoor recreation areas. i had a chance to talk to some of the 300 or so employees at e.m.s. they have stores throughout the east coast and they're just one example of the countless businesses that have grown
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strong thanks to the careful stewardship of our beautiful areas in this country, of the landscape that so many of our -- their customers visit. now, one of the ways that we have preserved the great outdoors at the federal level is through the land and water conservation fund. the fund was created in 1965 and it protects lands, forests, state and local parks and critical wildlife habitat. this critical program also helps ensure hunting and fishing access -- something also very important in new hampshire -- it supports battlefields, trails, sporting facilities, and outdoor recreation opportunities in every state. every year since i arrived in the senate in 2009, i've led a letter with senator leahy of vermont to senator appropriators that supports robust funding for the land and water conservation fund. the most recent letter was signed by 44 senators from both
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sides of the aisle -- a very strong showing of bipartisanship from supporters who know that this is a program that works for the environment and works for small businesses. i'm also pleased to cosponsor legislation, bipartisan legislation, that's led by senator bingaman that would permanently authorize the land and water conservation fund through dedicated funding. in new hampshire, the lwcf has supported more than 650 local recreation and conservation projects and it helps protect locations like the white mountain national forest, the appalachian trail, the imbaeogg national wildlife refuge, and the silvio conte national wildlife refuge. these scenic locations, whether they're enjoyed for relaxation, for exercise, they support jobs and local economies by increasing the demand for outdoor recreation equipment and
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by attracting visitors to our state. those visitors eat in our restaurants, they shop in our small businesses, they stay in some of the most beautiful hotels you'll find anywhere in america. and the outdoor economy supports tourism and tourism should be recognized as the economic engine that it is throughout this country. the travel and tourism industry is one of the top 10 industries in 48 states in the country. it supports over 14 million american jobs, and in new hampshire, travel and tourism is our second largest industry, supporting over 60,000 jobs. i had the opportunity yesterday with a number of small business owners and representatives from new hampshire, to visit brand u.s.a., which is the national initiative that is the result of travel and tourism legislation passed by the senate and congress in 2010, to begin
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advertising the united states outside of this country. they have advertisements now in canada, in the u.k., in markets that are important as we think about how we attract visitors to the united states. now, in new hampshire it's not difficult to see why tourism is so important. visitors are drawn to new hampshire for our attractions, our landscapes, our foliage which is about to begin, actually, and they provide a beautiful environment for families to spend time together. during august my husband and i actually had the opportunity to take all of our grandchildren, our seven grandchildren, our entire family, 14 of us, up to the white mountains. we stayed at the mountain washington hotel which is at the base of mount washington. it's a beautiful hotel where the bretton woods monetary conference was held back in the
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late 1940's. and we had a great time. we went hiking, my oldest grandson went fishing with his father, one of my granddaughters went horseback riding with my daughter, we visited the flume which is a naturally occurring gorge in new hampshire. we ended the several days we were there visiting a place called clark's trading post which is a great family business in new hampshire. they have -- they work with bears, black bears who roam the woods of new hampshire and they've been working with them for 50 years. so it's a real trained bear show. and in addition to that, they have attractions from new england, they have a railroad, just a great place for the family to spend the afternoon. this was a wonderful trip. it brought our family closer, it allows the cousins to visit with each other. we came back rested, restored. we had a great time investing in new hampshire businesses.
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and as our family saw last month, conservation programs like lwcf are part of what we need to do to make sure that those kinds of experiences are available to everybody in new hampshire and across this country. they're part of our responsibility to safeguard our environmental heritage. and more than that, as the outdoor recreation economy shows, and as so many reports show, they are an economic imperative that support millions of jobs nationwide. i'm going to continue to work to strengthen programs like the land and water conservation fund, work to continue to promote tourism and the outdoor recreation economy. and i urge all of my colleagues to join these efforts because they not only protect america's great outdoors, but they support the businesses and the outdoor recreation economy that they sustain. thank you very much,
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mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: mr. president? no a senator: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. murray: mr. president, i have come to the floor this evening to make a few things abundantly clear about the veterans job corps legislation that the senate is currently
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considering. first and foremost, the bill in front of us is fully paid for, fully paid for using offsets that both republicans and democrats have supported in the past. so this bill is paid for. secondly, no national what republicans try to tell you, this is a bill that includes ideas from both site ideas of te aisle. of the 12 provisions in this bill, eight of them started out as republican ideas. we in fact included senator burs entire alternative to this bill to make it even more bipartisan. and on top of bills that we've included -- on top of that, we have included bills that are sponsored by senator toomey, senator boozman, senator johanns, and senator isakson. so don't let anybody tell you that we haven't been inclues schiff this process. we know on this side that we don't have a monopoly to help solve the problem of our
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veterans looking for work these days. we have included as many possible avenues to employment as possible in this legislation. now finally and most importantly, i want to make sure that everyone who's considering voted for the budget point of order that senator sessions has been out here talking about and indicated he may raise needs to know exactly what's at stake here and believe me every single veteran in the country needs to know what's at stake as well. what his budget point of order says is we are now going to draw a line in the sand on what we will provide for our nation's veterans. doesn't matter in the bill is paid for. the point of order puts a price tag on the care of veterans and then says, not a dime more. now, this point of order really ties our hands. it says that even at a tim timea war, even at a time when nearly one in five young veterans are out of work, at a time when the veteran suicide rate is
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skyrocketing and when more young veterans are becoming homeless, we're done. we're done. veterans are on their own. it says that even if we find offsets for new investments and ideas to aid our nation's heroes, repay for it, tough luck, nothing you can do. it says that countless bills waiting for consideration by the senate can be tossed along the wayside. mr. president, when are we going to realize that our veterans are a cost of these wars, that helping to give them the skills and training to find work is a cost of war, that their transition home is a cost of war, and that it is a cost we are going to face not just this year or next year or ten years from fa, but for the rest of these young men and women's lives? when are we going to realize that it is not enough to pat our veterans on the back for their service but not give them a helping hand when they come
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home? the budget point of order says, we've done enough for veterans. i say, we can't do enough. mr. president, less than 1% of u.s. citizens have served. less than 1% of u.s. sense have- less than 1% of u.s. citizens have served for the well-being of the other 9%. veterans across the country are watching. they're waiting. they're tired of excuses. they want to see that we can get this bill to the finish line. now, i know that some republicans have pointed to the calendar as the reason for their opposition to this bill. honestly, i wish it wasn't september either and we the countries have to deal with politics here in washington, d.c. but, you know, who could care less about what month it is or how many days out we are from an election? the nearly one million unemployed veterans looking for work -- when you talk to them, their concern isn't what month
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it is or how many days before an election; it's about what scwobs are available in their community, what training program can they take advantage of, what's being done to honor their two or three or more tours overseas? our answer can't be that we are all out of options. it can't be that their service was worth only so much. so i'm here this evening to urge republicans to join us this evening in rising above politics, like we have done time and time again throughout history for our veterans, to ignore the calendar and do what's right. lantlet's send a message from te united states senate that our veterans come first, that we will keep our end of the bargain, that we will never put a price on the commitment we owe them. i urge my colleagues to join me in waiving the budget point of order when it is offered later this evening. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: pursuant to the senator's
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request, the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, earlier, our colleague, senator murray, complained that objections to the veterans jobs bill was political. i think that was the thrust of part of her remarks and that we should just go on and pass it and move on.
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my sole problem with the legislation -- and senator murray, as a member of the budget committee, understands this -- is it violates the budget. it is subject to a budget point of order. we would spend more money on this legislation than the veteran committee is authorized to spend. and if we do that, we are supposed to vote on it and a budget point of order would lie and those who want to waive the budget would move to waive the budget and we would vote. it takes 60 votes to waive the duly agreed upon spending limit that we have in that regard, and that was part of the august agreement last year in which we raised the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. we agreed to put some limits on spending. not much, but some. and here we are already for the
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the -- after several different prior violations of the budget back at it again. so that's the concern. senator burr has offered legislation that would be -- that would help solve the problem of unemployment among veterans, and his doesn't violate the budget. we could support it. i would note that the veterans committee never had a chairing on this. nobody ever studied, called expert witnesses, had hearings in public, examined witnesses to find out if this plan is the best way to help veterans who are unemployed. we have six programs already. maybe it would be better to consolidate some of them and add a little to it. maybe some of them ought to be eliminateed and a new program that's outlined in the murray
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amendment could be utilized to do that. but we have had no real opportunity to do that. so what is the politics? i would say the politics is that the majority party -- and senator -- the senator from nevada, the majority leader, he doesn't want to talk about real issues of great importance, so this bill is brought up and utilized to fill up a whole week before -- and so we're not going to take up several other pieces of legislation that are very, very important. so it is suggested that those republicans who don't favor this way of dealing with unemployment of veterans. if you don't do that, you don't like veterans and you don't like people who served our country and you're insensitive about that. let me ask this question.
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if you care about veterans, if you say this bill, which would cost $200 million, which is a lot of money but not that much in terms of what we deal with, so if you don't support this bill, they say you don't care about veterans. so let me pose this question. if you care about our men and women in uniform who serve our country and veterans, how could you oppose authorizing the defense bill? senator reid, the majority leader, has blocked the bringing up of the bipartisan-approved defense authorization bill. it has been passed every year for over 50 years. that amounts to $631 billion.
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if we don't pass that, we are not taking care of the pay raise for military men and women and a lot of other initiatives in there. and i would just point out to my colleagues that it passed the senate armed services committee on a bipartisan basis. not just on a bipartisan basis. unanimously. but senator reid won't bring it up. the house has passed the defense authorization bill. they passed it in may. we have never brought it to the floor. he's refused to bring it to the floor. i suggest that those who say that if you have a question about the vet -- job bill for veterans, why don't we ask the questions what do you think of the military if you won't bring up a military authorization bill? do you care about them enough? what about the defense appropriations bill? the house has passed the defense
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appropriations bill. the appropriations committee of the senate has passed a defense appropriations bill. it's on the floor waiting to be called up and voted on. it's not being voted on. and we again are talking about $600 billion, but this 200 billion-dollar bill has taken up the whole week and the other bill won't even be brought up. and one more question. if you're concerned about veterans and jobs, what about the sequester? we are on track to hammer the defense department with half of the budget cuts. the defense department makes up about 1/6 of the federal government spending. it's going to take half of the cuts. it's already taken almost $500 billion in cuts. this would be another $492 billion in cuts to the defense department.
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secretary panetta, the secretary of defense, has told the president and the whole world this would be catastrophic. it would hollow out the military. it would endanger our ability to fulfill our mission, but we are on track to have that go into effect those cuts that take place in january, and we're going to have military officials reduce dramatically if that occurs the number of men and women in uniform. we're going to have people coming out of the battlefield of iraq and afghanistan and other places wanting to make a career out of the military, thinking they could make a career out of the military, and all of a sudden because of this sequester, they're going to walk in and get a pink slip. sorry, we don't need you anymore, good luck. now, we have plans under the cuts that are in place at the defense department to draw down the number of personnel. this would be dramatically more. where are they going to get jobs?
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and many of the people that would also lose their jobs in that process work for defense contractors or civilian employees of the department of defense who also are veterans. they got jobs as civilian employees in the department of defense. they will be laid off. why aren't we dealing with the sequester? senator mccain earlier today said it was a shame that we are not dealing with these issues. shame, shame, shame, senator mccain said. i think that's right. yet we have the spectacle of the majority party in this congress attacking the republicans but not liking the military because we don't agree to a budget-busting bill on how to create jobs. it's never been through a committee for veterans, jobs for veterans, never been through the committee and never had a proper process. now, i don't agree with that. we have a serious problem in this senate.
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we have a majority party in this senate that's refusing to undertake the basic requirements of the united state senate. we haven't passed a budget. we haven't passed a single appropriations bill. we certainly didn't pass the defense appropriations bill, the defense authorization bill. it as has been noted has passed for 50-plus years. it won't be even brought up to have debate on, and it passed the committee unanimously. what is this? this is a fear, it seems to me, a political fear, and the political fear if you bring up these bills, democrats might have to vote on amendments and things. and they don't want to vote. if you're going to bring a budget to the floor, well, you have a right to offer amendments about the future financial
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course of america. and we get to have full debate about it and talk about it and offer amendments and be on record as to what we believe in, how much debt we think we can sustain in this country. and so they don't want to do that. senator reid said it's foolish to have a budget. it's not foolish to have a budget, of course. that's why we're in such a fix today, i would suggest. so can we do more for veterans? i think we can do more, and i think we can help them with their employment circumstances. i served ten years in the army reserve. one of my duties was to be the representative for the employer support of guard and reserve and that was to ensure people called up for national guard, army reserve or go on active duty, make sure that when they come
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back they get the job that they had, they won't lose their position, their employment position as a result of serving their country. that's one of the things we did when i was united states attorney, i prosecuted some cases where i felt, and we won, the case, where people had been lost their jobs, as a result of being called up to military service. that's not acceptable. we need to protect our men and women. i have a history of that. but this job doesn't -- this bill doesn't guarantee that we're going to use the money wisely that's being spent. so i just am amazed that we're using our last hours here to move forward a bill that
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violates the budget when we don't have to. senator burr's bill doesn't violate the budget, and it will, i am confident, do the job -- do the same kind of job for helping veterans get jobs. so this is very odd, to suggest that somehow those of us on this side are using politics to block a benefit to veterans. give me a break. that's kind of an odd charge, isn't it? i'd say the people on our side are standing and asking principled questions. yes, we'd like to do more for veterans, yes, we hope to help them find jobs, but we agreed just last august to spending limits. we agreed just august in exchange for raising the debt ceiling $2 trillion to reduce some spending, not a lot but
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some spending. and here we are, just over a year later, and we're already busting those limits we agreed to. it's just not right, and it can't be the kind of thing we should be doing. and one more thing. it's obvious to those of us in the senate, if they would take a minute to just think about it, and that is that sustaining the budget point of order, not waiving the budget, does not kill the murray bill or the burr bill. it simply says go back to committee, have a real hearing, bring the bill forward that actually stays within the budget. that's all it says do. and i tell you, if we continue this process and we've done it several times already this year of violating the budget, pretty soon the budget numbers that we
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have are going to be worthless. so that would be my concern. let's send the legislation back to committee, let's have a hearing, let's let a bill come forward. let's consider the six jobs programs for veterans that are already in place, see if they need to be improved, expanded, consolidated, how this bill should be passed to complement those programs and see if we can't get the maximum benefit for veterans for every dollar the taxpayers have sent to us. and to the extent to which we spend a time above the budget, it's either borrowed or paid for by new taxes. that's just no doubt about it. the new taxes in this bill, revenue that's in this bill, some of it is really gimmicky, i got to tell you, and it's not the kind of way we should do
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business in my view. so, mr. president, i appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts. i believe that the budget point of order should not be waived. we shouldn't waive the budget and spend more than the budget. we should send this bill back to committee, tell them to get busy on a thorough review of the jobs situation of veterans and come forward and help us -- and produce a bill that we can pass that does the job and does -- doesn't violate the budget. we spend 3,700 billion dollars. we ought to be able to find $200 million somewhere in that budget to meet this challenge if we need to. i thank the chair and would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid reid: mr. president, iw ask unanimous consent that on wednesday, september 19, following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of s. 3457 and notwithstanding rule 22, it be in order for senator mcconnell or his designee to raise a budget point of order against the substitute amendment number 2789.
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that if a budget point of order is raised, the majority leader or his designee be recognized for a motion to waive the applicable budget points of order, that the time until 12:00 noon that day be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees on the motion to wai waive. that upon the use or yielding back of that time, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to waive. that if the motion to waive the applicable budget points of order is not agreed to, cloture motions with respect to the substitute and the underlying bill be withdrawn and the bill be returned to the calendar and the majority leader then be recognized. that if the motion to waive is agreed to, at a time to be determined by the majority leader, after consultation with the republican leader, and notwithstanding rule 22, the motion to commit be withdrawn and that all pending amendments be withdrawn with the exception of the pending substitute amendment number 2789. that there be 30 minutes of debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, that upon the use or yielding back of that time, the senate proceed to the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on
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the stood amendment number -- substitute amendment number 2789f. cloture is invoked, remaining postcloture time be yield would back and the senate proceed to vote in relation to the substitute amendment number 2789. that following that vote, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 3457, as amended, if amended, and if the cloture is invoked, the postcloture time be yielded back, the bill be read a third time, senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill, as amended, if amended, and following the vote on passage, the majority leader be recognized. if cloture is not invoked on the substitute amendment 2789, the cloture motion on the underlying bill be withdrawn and the bill be returned to the calendar. further, that no amendments, motions or points of order be in order to the substitute amendment or the bill other than those listed in this agreement. finally, when the senate receives h.j. res. 117, the continuing resolution, it be placed on the calendar. that on wednesday, september 19, it be in order for me, senator reid, of nevada, to proceed to h.j. res. 117 and file cloture
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on the motion to proceed. finally, that if a cloture motion is filed, notwithstanding rule 22, the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to h.j. res. 117 occur at 2:15 p.m. on wednesday, september 19. the presiding officer: if there is no objection -- and there is no objection -- it is so ordered. mr. reid: note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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